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When the media announced in early July 2012 that researchers had finally confirmed the existence of the elusive Higgs boson, aka the God particle, physicists around the world hailed the discovery as a major scientific breakthrough. To California Institute of Technology researcher Carroll (From Eternity to Here, 2010), the event gave another opportunity to demonstrate what he does best, translating complicated ideas into lay-friendly language. In describing how the Higgs boson was detected after decades of theoretical speculation, Carroll covers a wide swath of science, from the Big Bang to quantum mechanics, as well as the thorny politics behind funding the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, where experiments established the particle's existence. Along with an overview of abstract concepts like supersymmetry, Carroll more lightheartedly explains why Hollywood loves science and why the world wasn't likely to end if the collider inadvertently created a mini-black-hole. A first-rate physics guide that enlarges our understanding of the universe we live in.--Hays, Carl Copyright 2010 Booklist
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With his trademark wit and lucidity, Carroll (From Eternity to Here) delivers the story of the search for the elusive Higgs boson-the Holy Grail of particle physics-which was finally discovered earlier in 2012. The tale, says Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, is one of "money, politics, and jealousy" among scientists and nations seeking the prize. The Higgs boson is not an atomic particle; it's part of the Higgs field that pervades the universe and gives atomic particles their mass. The quest for the elusive particle required a cutting-edge tool: the massive, complex Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland. Carroll takes readers inside the collider's 17-mile ring, where protons zoom around at ultrahigh speeds to smash together, revealing telltale signs of the boson. Along the way Carroll introduces researchers like Mike Lamont, the LHC's "Mister Scott"; engineer Lyn Evans, the man who built the LHC; and Fabiola Gianotti, one of the top women scientists in the world. Whether explaining complex physics like field theory and symmetry or the workings of particle accelerators, Carroll's clarity and unbridled enthusiasm reveal the pure excitement of discovery as much as they illuminate the facts. Illus. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Even nonscientists have heard for decades about the theoretical Higgs boson, which the press often calls the "God particle." Now that confirmation of its existence has been found, Carroll (physics, California Inst. of Technology; From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time) sets himself the task of telling the subatomic ingredient's story from start to finish, from the earliest papers predicting it to the massive hadron collider that hunted it down. Carroll's previous book illuminated a complex scientific concept-the arrow of time-and used metaphors and step-by-step arguments in the best tradition of popular science. By contrast, this book is closer to long-form science journalism, describing the politics, personalities, and administrative details involved in the Higgs-hunting projects. Only a comparatively simplified sketch of the theory is included. VERDICT A readable and well-researched chronicle of this century's biggest event in physics, with some explanation of the science itself.-J.J.S. Boyce, Manitoba Metis Federation (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.